Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley


The Economy of Switzerland

The Industrial Revolution in Switzerland

The mountainous terrain and the climate of Switzerland promoted handicraft industries to supplement agriculture. These handicraft industries such as clocks, special textiles, cheese and chocolates did not constitute industrialization. It was not until the spinning industry was forced to mechanize in order to compete with British textiles that the industrialization process began. Other elements of the Swiss textile industries in cotton, silk and linen also mechanized and adapted to the international competition that followed from the industrial revolution elsewhere.

Switzerland could not have, for lack of coal, an iron and steel industry but she did nurture speciality metal industries. The generation of electricity from water power alleviated some of Swiss industries' problems. Transportation was difficult and railway building was extremely expensive. Using electricity to power the trains helped.

Switzerland developed a niche in the financial markets of Europe that helped ease the process of industrialization.

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